Hey everyone! Welcome to the first issue of Get It Together hosted on Substack, where I keep talking about figuring things out, but also tell you about Worriers related things and art projects.
Life-building from a queer feminist. Queering space. Worriers. All the things.
One big difference is that I now offer paid subscriptions! If you enjoy these emails and want to support my projects, the band, etc. a paid subscription lets you find out about new things before anyone else (new records, prints, merch, tours) AND YOU CAN COMMENT. I wish you could comment without paying but that’s not how this thing works, sorry! I’ll also occasionally write other things to subscribers, so if you want to get in on that, go for it!
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Ok, so now for the regularly scheduled running my mouth on the internet.
Every once in a while, someone will come up to me at a show or while we’re hanging out and say something like “I know I’m not your ideal fan, but…” or “I know this song isn’t FOR me, but…” and follow it up with a compliment about how they connect with one of my songs. By “someone” I mean straight, cis-men.
I’ll never complain about a compliment, but I don’t ever remember putting out a memo that my songs are only to be enjoyed by people with my exact perspective. I don’t feel that way. I appreciate that those comments are showing respect for our differing lived experiences, because that’s important. But if I can find extreme connection with songs written by straight folks, POC, other genders, why shouldn’t that connection operate the other way around?
:: someone please comment with queer readings of Springsteen. please. ::
To be clear, I don’t think everyone is writing music looking for my approval or connection. Nor am I writing music hoping everyone *gets it*. But I can appreciate the fact that there are things you can read into songs that are beyond the control of the people writing them, and that’s AWESOME.
I bring this up because a little while ago I read this article about Black Belt Eagle Scout which talks about the spaces she’s trying to create at shows:
Paul has always focused on giving space to the narratives of indigenous people has said that she before that she gets uncomfortable when she sees mostly white men at her shows.
"I think the thing that makes me uncomfortable is that the reason why I'm playing music is not for them," Paul says. "It's for people of color, for indigenous people, for queer people and white men are so fragile when I say I say stuff like that. It's because of white privilege and they don't often get told that."
Paul says that if she were to make up her own show rules, she wouldn't exclude white men from attending, but would save most of the space for people of color.
You should read the full article for more context but I think that sentiment is an important one to understand and respect. While I can check the box of being a queer person, I’m also a white person, and it boggles my mind that white friends might be offended by this concept. Enjoying music or connecting with someone’s art is different than demanding a front row seat to its creation. Why is it a problem if you aren’t the intended audience? No one owes you that. Just stand in the back and enjoy some music that you think is cool. It’s really that simple.
Same goes for guys that get their feathers ruffled when they hear the phrase “Girls To The Front.” Odds are you’re welcome up front at 90% of the shows you go to, dude. Heaven forbid you go out of your way to make other folks feel welcome for a couple hours. Your life is so hard.
At our shows, personally, I just want everyone to have a good time and feel welcome. You don’t have to be a queer feminist weirdo, but you DO have to be cool about other people being that way. If I see someone who clearly isn’t reading the room, I’ve asked them to leave. (One time I even got to stop a song, point to the door and yell GET THE FUCK OUT, which was fun in hindsight, but please don’t make me do that again.)
Do I care if everyone understands or identifies with all of my lyrics? NOPE! Do I think it’s cool when straight folks say they enjoy songs that they realize are written about queer scenarios? Yes, yes I do. I feel like this means we’ve connected on some common level of humanity and I’d like to see more of that.
Not everyone feels this way, not everyone wants certain people singing along to every word. I totally understand that too. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to accept.
Engaging with art and music has the opportunity to create new spaces and have conversations that can lead to more genuine understanding and truly inclusive events. I really like talking about this stuff.
We can all have that conversation at a show, or you could also sign up for a paid subscription and then comment on this thing!
Sorry, had to take that obvious opportunity to tie that one in. No hard feelings if you just want to get the free posts. <3
Thanks for reading this one. Please consider sharing this new iteration with friends!
Next week I’ll probably share some things about my road trip that included miniature horses (!!!), and/or my ongoing search for good bagels in Los Angeles. I’m really trying to finish a new zine before Fest too, so wish me luck. See y’all soon.
Next Worriers shows: The Fest 18, November 2 and 3 in Gainesville, FL